M. wanted me to see if I could log on to this blog, so while I'm here, I thought I'd just say hi.
We did not have a bad time with jetlag - got a full night of sleep last night even after much sleeping on the plane, and were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for our first full day of touring. By pure luck, we are the only adopters here right now and have a guide and a driver all to ourselves....so we're having a stupendous time. Pure magic!
Today we saw the forbidden city and did a Hutong tour by rickshaw. We had tea in the home of a Hutong family....just gorgeous...a huge courtyard full of pomegranante and date trees. The owner of the house gave us a paper cutout of a Chinese ceremonial mask which she'd been working on, and which we admired.
Then we went to a local market and smelled spices, and M bought me a fan (it's paralyzingly hot and all the locals - even the men, are carrying paper fans. It really does help.)
Our guide Leo is terrific and has given us an amazing amount of history, education and local lore. After the Hutong tour, he took us to a tea house to sample five or six teas in a traditional ceremony. Let me just say, INCREDIBLE! The tea we get in the US doesn't even begin to compare to Chinese teas.
After that we went to the acrobat show...also, just incredible! We've never been to see Cirque du Soleil, so this made us feel much better about having missed out. The Chinese acrobats start training at about 3 years old, and are so incredibly casual about the astounding feats they perform, it;'s really breathtaking!
For dinner our guide took us to the other end of town to a restaurant called the Beijing Duck. Theres a big, whacky statue of a duck that looks vaguely like Donald out front, but inside it is serious business. THe duck is carved tableside and served with pancackes and vegetables. The restaurant has been around for 500 years, we were told.
Now we're back in the hotel and finally were able to plug in and recharge all our electronics. We took so many pictures today that it's a little ludicrous, and we just haven't had time to download and sort, so I'm afraid this will remain pictureless for now.
Oh, the things I could show you! But it's hard to find time to blog when the days are this chock-full. Tomorrow morning we head to the great wall and the cloisonne factory. I can hardly wait!!
Anon.... M&M (falling quickly in love with China)